Kemoeatus in for busy week
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Just because the Pro Bowl was played on the Mainland for the first time in 31 years doesn't mean there still won't be an NFL presence here this month.
Thanks to Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu and Pittsburgh Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu — both Kahuku High School graduates — more than 20 NFL players are on O'ahu and will be conducting football skills camps for youth and high school players Thursday and Saturday in addition to several school visits throughout the week.
The inaugural "Kemoeatu Brothers Foundation Comin' Home NFL Event" kicked off yesterday morning at Farrell's Pearlridge, where about a dozen players showed up to sign autographs and take pictures. The group then moved to the Wet 'n' Wild water park in Kapolei for more interaction with fans, including children from Ronald McDonald Charities.
Tomorrow, they will travel to Kahuku High School to meet with several classes. On Wednesday, it's on to Olomana Youth Correctional Facility and King Intermediate.
Thursday morning, the NFL players will speak to the football team at 'Aiea High before going back to Kahuku for the skills camp. Saturday, separate skills sessions will be offered for athletes in grades 3 to 5, 6 to 8 and high school at Radford.
"We've been wanting to do something like this for a long time," said Maake Kemoeatu, an eight-year NFL veteran. "We want the kids to get a vision of something beyond our shores. We want to encourage them to go out and chase their dreams, whether it's football or anything else."
Among the NFL players here is Steelers receiver Hines Ward, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XL three years ago.
"As players, we loved coming to Hawai'i, it was always a special treat," said Ward, who played in four Pro Bowls here. "This is where it belongs."
For Chris Kemoeatu, he plans to come home every year regardless of where the Pro Bowl is played.
"It's about giving back to the community and motivating the kids in a positive way," he said.